The US copyright office, a sector of the Library of Congress, issued exemptions to copyright law giving legal protection to people who unlock or “jailbreak” their smartphones.
The move by the copyright office gives exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and undermines handset producers'—such as Apple—ability to control the installation of unapproved software programs on their smartphones.
The office said users can circumvent their phone's functionality to use any legally obtained software. The ruling also allows users to change their wireless service provider. Currently, AT&T is the sole service provider for the iPhone.
While it is reported that over one million people have “jailbroken” their iPhones to change wireless providers, an Apple spokesman told The Wall Street Journal “jailbreaking” can severely alter the “iPhone experience.”